Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Rouge d'Armani Pink Lipsticks 506, 507 & 512

Armani has some good beauty week GWPs this year! I opted for the Saks GWP because my Neimans didn't have the new pink lipsticks in for the rouge d'armani line. The counter didn't get all the shades in, but my SA was kind enough to sell me a tester for one of the shades.

I also compared it next to NARS Dolce Vita to help give you a baseline for comparisons. I just finished a tube and got a new one. For some reason I remember DV being cooler-toned. Unfortunately I already threw out my old tube, but perhaps it just looks warm next to the pink Armani shades.

Rouge D'Armani Lipsticks are mostly non-shimmer colors. They have more lasting power compared to the typical Armani lipstick (which are gorgeous, slightly glossy, but have little lasting power). These retail for $30 each and have a magnetic lid to hold them shut. I nearly had a few lipstick casualties when propping them up next to each other because the magnetic forces pushed and pulled the lipsticks in different directions.

Most of the new pinks were brighter. There was one, I believe it was 508 that was a cooler lighter pink than 507. If you love NARS Roman Holiday, then you might want to check out Pink 508.

The Saks GWP comes with a full-sized 44 lipshimmer and minis (just an FYI, I stocked up on some other staples such as mascara, powder foundation etc to meet the minimum purchase for the GWP, they are not photographed here):

Saks Exclusive Laura Mercier Spring Must-Have Collection

If you haven't filled out my survey, this is the last day I'm collecting responses in case you have any feedback you would like to leave, thanks! Click here to take survey

Out of all the Laura Mercier Exclusive Sets this year, the Saks Spring Must-Have Collection is definitely the winner! The set retails for $65 and is exclusive to Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and can now be found online here. It includes:

* full sized Babydoll Lip Glace
* mini pink rose face quad
* mini bold berries eyeshadow quad
* 2 mini brushes, face and pony tail
* mini mascara
* mini foundation primer

FYI - All the colors and items are also available in the regular Laura Mercier line with the exception of the Bold Berries eyeshadow quad which is exclusive to this set. Her mini brushes are excellent in quality and are usually just as good as the full sized versions. By now I have so many mini brushes, I'm starting to get repeats. My mom and sister get to benefit from my extras :)

It seems like a really good deal for the set. There is a cute GWP at Saks too (see pics below). The Bold Berries quad is really cute and all the shades have shimmer. I won't be swatching this quad - I did test it instore and the pigment was pretty good. Seemed to be on par with other single eyeshadow colors. I wish the quad was bigger - it seems like it might be difficult to apply since all the colors are placed so close together. I will just try to use my smaller brushes.

This is the GWP from Saks. It includes a full-sized Blush Lip Glace which is a great natural your-lips-but-better pinky shade.

Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus also have their own exclusive sets. These feature brighter shades of orange, teal and bronze. Fun for summer, but definitely not me and doesn't seem very "laura mercier." When I think of Laura Mercier's line, I think sophisticated, classic, demure. The new sets seem to be very "out-of-the-box" for her brand. Still fun and cute though. The Saks set seemed the most wearable for me. I believe each store's sets retail for $65 - so if you're near a neimans or nordies definitely check them out!

FYI - I also purchased some bath and body items along with this set for the GWP.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chanel Rouge Coco = Pure Luxury for Lips

Yes - I am a die-hard Chanel fan and went nuts over the new Rouge Coco Lipsticks. Even though I love the unique smaller independent brands, if I were pressed to pick only one brand to use, it would hands-down be Chanel for the color selection and quality.

When I heard the news of the upcoming lipstick launch, I initially thought, oh great, another brand revamping something just so they can charge $30 for a lipstick. But when my friend and I checked out the new lippies, we couldn't contain ourselves. We were like kids in a candy store and bought way too many lipsticks - but at least we can feel like we look good.

Most of the shades are available at all Chanel retailers. The U.S. Exclusives I know of include:

  • - Teheran #56
  • Saks Fifth Avenue - Byzantine #28 (vibrant berry wine/almost fuschia color with slight shimmer)
  • Neiman Marcus - Gardenia #13 (featured one post below)

While swatching the colors at Saks and Bloomies, I started at #01 and swatched consecutively so I wouldn't miss any colors. However I lost track after I ran out of space on my hand and I didn't see 07, 12, 30 or 35 in the line up at any of the counters. So the investigator in me wonders if they simply skipped those shades or if those are exclusives elsewhere.

So far, to our knowledge, Nordstrom and Bloomies do not have exclusive shades. We didn't even think to go check out Macys. In 2 hours we had literally shopped until we were ready to drop.

If anyone has details about the other major department stores exclusives, please let me know!!

Some of the colors I bought: Mademoiselle, Ruban Rose, Gardenia, Muse & Rose Comete. I swatched these today but failed miserably. It's cloudy and rainy and the swatches were just very blah. The remaining shades I purchased will be featured at a later date.

Swatch fail, please don't let these crummy swatches deter you - this is for the commenter who wanted to see how Gardenia compared to Ruban Rose.

Pigment: The pigment is excellent. Some of the colors are a bit sheerer than others - but they those are the ones like Perle, Ruban Rose and Rose Comete. They aren't super sheer like Aqualumieres - it's just some of the lighter colors have a more transparent finish.

Texture/Finish: I'll reiterate that I think these are a great swipe-and-go lipstick. I loved the Peter Phillips videos featuring his discussion of these colors. La Chanel Phile is great for info and news (thanks to Leslieal for pointing this out to me). The formula is moist and creamy and easy to apply, yet lightweight. My SA said it's like they took the Rouge Allure + Aqualumiere and mixed them together for a rich creamy moisturizing lipstick.

Scent: No overpowering scent. There is a subtle hint of a lipstick smell, but it's nice and soothing. I can't put my finger on exactly what that scent is though. I have one of the pickiest noses and only tolerated the Hydrabase Lipstick Scent simply because it was Chanel.

Packaging: These come in a new metal tube rather than the plastic. It definitely has a more luxurious feel. The Chanel design team did a great job giving this lipstick a higher-end feel in the material without changing the classic packaging - one among the many thing I really appreciate with Chanel. I really like the fact that they have kept the same classic packaging over all these years keeping the product true to their brand image and feel. I love that they are classic and trend-setters both at the same time.

The lipstick caps have a more snug fit to the lipstick itself. There's no loose feeling when you push the lid down. The tube is metal like the Rouge Allures.

One more thing I am happy to report is that they have maintained the same product weight for the Rouge Coco as with their other lipsticks. They are still 3.5 g/.12 oz. Big YAY from me - especially when it's a trend with other lines to revamp packaging and give us consumers less product.

Here are a couple of the Hydrabase tubes compared to the Rouge Coco Tubes, left to right: Lilac Sky Hydrabase, Rose Comete Rouge Coco, Rose Baby Hydrabase (Euro)

More color features to come soon!

Chanel Gardenia Rouge Coco & Rose Paradise Nail Polish (Neiman Marcus Exclusives)

My friend and I just checked out the new Chanel Rouge Coco Lipsticks and we hit up all four major department stores near me to investigate on any store exclusives (yes, we went to all four). We found that only Saks and Neimans had exclusives and we both were delighted with the ones at Neiman Marcus: Rose Paradise Nail Polish and Gardenia Rouge Coco.

In addition to their full Rouge Coco display, Neimans also has a mini unit featuring:

* Rose Paradise #185 Nail Polish (Retails for $23) - a warmer pink rose frost

* Gardenia #13 Rouge Coco Lipstick (Retails for $30) - a soft warm pink base with & cool pink shimmer

* Bel Air #147 Glossimer (Retails for $27) - this is the second repromote for this shade, it's a classic creamy pink-rose (pinker than giggle)

We both had to get the newer shades and I already had Bel Air from the Les Naturels Collection from last April/May 2009. All the Chanel reps were either wearing the exclusive Gardenia #13 or Mademoiselle #05 (featured on Vanessa Paradis in the Rouge Coco ad). Both colors were stunning on all the artists regardless of skin-tone and coloring.

To clarify - the lipstick is not an exact match for the gloss. It appears they simply decided to repromote the Bel Air to compliment the new lipstick. The artists told me they were also combining Pagoda Glossimer (another favorite of mine) with Gardenia Lipstick for their makeovers.

No flash, natural light:

It looks like Rose Paradise Nail Polish is available on, but it's currently Out Of Stock which makes me think they might not have got it in quite yet. So perhaps these aren't really "exclusive" as the little display showed. I'll do a manicure post on this later in the next week or so, but here it is compared to a few other shades, Ming, Rose Blossom, Paparazzi. The Rose Paradise is a warm shimmery rose, similar to Tarte Love Child Cheek Stain in a nail polish form.

I am sad to see the Hydrabase go away, but the new colors and formula is amazing. I swatched as many as I could fit on my hand and ended up coming home with way too much. If you had or tried any Hydrabase colors you know that there was a strong floral scent and that some of the shades felt a bit dry to apply. Once on the lip they were perfectly fine, but the texture tugged the lips a bit upon application.

The new Rouge Coco Lipsticks have a creamy moisturizing formula that just glides on the lips without feeling too shiny or glossy. I find that it really is the best of all Chanel lipsticks - like if you mixed all three formulas from Aqualumiere, Hydrabase and Rouge Allure together. There is a slight scent, but I could barely notice it. I am thrilled with the new colors and formula. You really can just apply and be done in one swipe. No liner or gloss needed in my opinion.

One last view:

You can see a swatch of Bel Air here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

MAC Abalone Shell Nail Cream Nail Lacquer

I thought my wallet would be safe from MAC's Spring Forecast, but I broke my resolve after peeking at a few items in person. I was intrigued by Abalone Shell Cream Nail Polish from the Amber Collection Series. It looked like a pretty nude in the bottle and it looked stunning in all the pictures/swatches I've seen so far on other blogs and message boards.

Yes, I confess, my last manicure was only 2 days ago, but I felt the green was better suited for my toes. The Pop Petrol was getting too much attention and kept turning heads. It made me feel self conscious. I went to get a color change with Abalone Shell and here is what it looks like with 3 coats.

So what do I think? News alert: There is a nude that's too nude for me. Shocker, I know! It's a lovely nude, but it just looks too matchy with my skintone making it feel too nude. I feel like it would be amazing if I had a tan. I would like more of a contrast between my skin and the nails for this color. If it had shimmer/pearl, perhaps I wouldn't mind so much.

It just feels flat and lifeless - and dull. If you're looking for a nude-nail look, then you'll love this. I'll just be saving it for the summertime when I finally get the tan that I so desperately need.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Edward Bess Pure Impulse + Soft Whisper = Nude Perfection

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Edward Bess. I've loved every single lipstick and lipgloss that I've purchased from the line and I have to say I'm surprised that I've had so many "yays" considering all the colors were purchased sight-unseen.

I've already featured some product photos and reviews on Pure Impulse Lipstick and Soft Whisper Lipgloss in previous posts, so today, I'll bring you a lip swatch of the two used together.

For those who haven't read those reviews, here is the run-down on Edward Bess Lipsticks & Lipglosses:

* Pure Impulse Lipstick - This is one of my holy grail nudes. Note that "nude" is subject to interpretation, but for me it's a natural beigey-nude that enhances my natural lip color but better in a light-nude way. Edward Bess lipsticks are full coverage, rich and creamy. They blend on the lips like a dream. There is a slight fig scent which I don't mind. Another surprising find, since my nose is ultra-sensitive. The lipsticks have a natural slightly glossy finish making them non-flat looking.

* Soft Whisper Lipgloss - This is equally pretty in my opinion. I find beauty in simplicity. It's a pretty beige color without shimmer. It's slightly warmer than Pure Impulse - but very close in color. Just not quite as nude. The pigment is medium with a slightly sticky finish, but not overly so. His lipglosses also have a fig-scent.

Granted, some may find these boring. But all I can say is that I love this lip combination. It's simple, classic, easy to wear and coordinates well with other shades. Can they be easily replicated with other brands? Perhaps, but I love that I can wear Pure Impulse by itself without feeling the need to tweak the color with a different shade of liner or gloss. Soft Whisper compliments the lipstick perfectly adding shine and a bit more depth.

A few notes before you read on:
* I have received mixed reviews on swatches. Please take them with a grain of salt! I am not an expert at swatching or photographing swatches.
* Some of you like the swatches and some of you have asked me to stop swatching. There lies the blogger's dilemma - what to do when you received mixed feedback?
* This lip-swatch article is my compromise-solution for requests on full-face photos.

Please bear with me while I try to figure out how to best photograph lip swatches. Thanks :)

*UPDATE* FYI: I am a Chanel Shell Teint Innocence which is light-medium right now. This is the equivalent of a MAC NC30 but a tad darker, not quite as deep as the NC35 color. YMMV depending on your natural lip tone. For some of my darker medium-skinned friends this isn't quite as peachy as it looks on me and goes on more of a beige with nude/grey base.

Here is Pure Impulse applied alone, no lipliner or gloss:

The Lipstick + Lipgloss:

I used this today with Edward Bess's Daydream Bronzer + Lancome's Miel Glace Blush on the cheeks and it was a pretty natural look! Do note that the cheek products were added after I took these photos, which is why you can't see anything but powder/foundation.

Edward Bess products can be purchased from Bergdorf Goodman or in the US.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dior Peach Lace Poudrier Dentelle from Spring 2010

Why does the UK and Asia get the prettier Dior product releases? When I saw the preview for Dior Spring, the Peach Lace highlighter was the first thing that jumped out to me. Of course the US only received the Pink Lace highlighter. Luckily, I was able to find Peach Lace 002 from a wonderful UK blogger (thank you again!!!). I just about died when I opened the compact. It's even prettier than the pink one.

Here is the Pink Lace 001 that I purchased back in January compared to the Peach Lace 002 which I believe is exclusive to Asia and Europe.

Without flash:

Note that the swatches don't photograph well, but this is the best I could get:

Here is the Peach Lace compared to a few other peachy highlighters including Dior Amber Diamond, Bobbi Brown Champagne Color Options (from a gazillion years ago), and MAC Drizzlegold Beauty Powder.

The Peach Lace Highlighter is gorgeous. I think it would have sold well in the US if it were released here. The swatch photos don't do the product justice, but it has a lovely light beige-peach shimmer finish and glow that I find rare in many highlighters. Most lighter colored highlighters are too pale giving a whitish-cast on the skin because of the silvery pearl shimmers.

I love the Pink Lace Highlighter, but the Peach Lace is definitely the winner!

In case you missed it, I wrote about my Spring Picks from the Dior Collection back in January here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lancome Pop Petrol Le Vernis Nail Polish

I just received a package from London, thanks to one of my favorite UK bloggers who was so kind to arrange a custom purchase for me. I was ecstatic to be able to get my hands on the Lancome Pop Petrol 014 Le Vernis Nail Color and immediately ran out to get a manicure.

How would I describe it? It's not quite as teal as the promo pictures showed, but it's still stunningly gorgeous. I'd describe it as a complex murky deep ocean blue-green. In natural light, it looks dark and almost black, but when the sunlight shines on it, the color flashes smokey greenish blue.

I took quite a few photos to try and show you how it looks at different angles and with different lighting. I hope this gives you an idea of how the color looks.

Please do not republish these photos, thanks!

With flash:

No flash:

With flash against Balenciaga First in Anthracite (2007 s/s):

Without flash against Balenciaga First (2007 s/s):

I did another post on some other teal-greenish nail polishes here. The closest color I have is Lippmann's Don't Tell Mama. They are extremely close to each other, the Lippmann is just greener and Lancome has a more smokey finish.

Overall thoughts: I love the color. It's a beautiful unique smokey green. The formula itself isn't easy to work with, but it's no different from other dark greens which seem to have a very sheer/streaky blackish base. Like all the other greens I have, the first coat looks horrid, but after the 2nd and 3rd coats you get the full frost finish. The salon put on 2 thick coats which took really long for it to dry. I would have rather had her apply 3 thinner coats, but was in a rush for a meeting. Overall, huge thumbs up. I'll try and update in a few days after I see how it wears.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ten Things I'm Loving Right Now

  1. MAC Metal Rock Mineralized Skinfinish (From 2005 Gold Play Collection) - One of the prettiest complex coppery-deep bronzey colors. I like to use this for eyeshadow rather than on the face. For my skin it's too dark to use on the cheeks. The closest I've found to this is NARS Fez.

  2. Bobbi Brown Penny Metallic Eyeshadow (From 2008 Bronzed Pink Collection) - Also limited edition. Gorgeous warm sandy copper shimmer. Highly pigmented. Blends like magic. Try Bobbi Brown Burnt Sugar as an alternative.

  3. Chantecaille Cheer Blush - Soft light peachy pink glow.

  4. Edward Bess Sunlight Highlighter - You've seen the review and swatch comparisons before. I love this for the perfect glow.

  5. MAC Beigeland Lipstick - Yay for B2M! Lovely light nude-gold shimmer. Not quite as pale as Gel, but pretty similar.

  6. YSL Rouge Volupte #26 Tender Peach - Also swatched/photographed before. This is such a lovely healthy fresh peach that doesn't scream "loud."

  7. Chanel Seashell Glossimer - The perfect sheer glowy pink. It's better than topping lipsticks with clear gloss because it just makes everything look better with a subtle shimmery glow.

  8. March Issue of Lucky Magazine - This was a surprise for me, normally I don't really find many things in this magazine that appeal to me, but in this issue there are so many cute outfit and shoe ideas in this issue. Definitely a good read!

  9. Pottery Barn Vintage Milk Bottles - Couldn't find the individual ones online, but they have them instore. So cute to store pencils or small flowers. Online they have a set of 6 with the labels on the sides.

    These are the ones from Pottery Barn Online:

  10. Michael Bublé - I love his music. He has such a great voice. His songs Some Kind of Wonderful and Just Haven't Met You Yet make my heart skip a beat.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paul & Joe Creamy Cheek Powder

Paul & Joe has expanded their blush line with a new product called Creamy Cheek Color. There are currently 5 shades: 01 Marionette, 02 Kitten, 03 Peaches, 04 Butterfly, 05 Dusk. Each come in a mirrored compact the same size as the Face Color Blushes. The shades are all beautiful and have a subtle shimmer infused for a pretty glow. These retail for $24 each USD.

Swatches on bare skin:

Comparisons to other brands/similar colors:

Initial thoughts: I haven't worn any of these for a full day yet, but I did test out 01 Marionette on my face as soon as I got it. It has an easily blendable texture and slightly powdery finish. The pigment is medium-sheer which is about the same as NARS Multiples, just less shimmery and less dewey looking on the skin.

Being the P&J fan that I am, I love these. I think everyone can find at least 1 flattering color. I know a few of my tan olive-toned friends love 05 :)

For those who are wondering about the finish - the shimmer is very subtle. Not overly frosty like NARS Multiples or even MAC Blushcremes Sweet William/Blossoming. They give a pretty natural glow and the shimmer makes it so it doesn't look too heavy or flat on the skin.

These were purchased from Bergdorf Goodman and should also be available soon at other Paul & Joe retailers.

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